CAT5 cable life expectancy

By gmallory ·
I am about to reconfigure our server room. The server room may move to a new location in our office. Our existing cabling is CAT5 and is approx. 12 years old. Is it more practical and cost effective to recable or to reuse existing cables? I understand that reusing existing cabling may be more troublesome since trying to track down existing cabling is time consuming and bending and/or pulling on old cables can damage them. Are there documented white papers or recommendations for cable life?

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I recently had to replace CAT5 under carpet.

by dm3haggitt In reply to CAT5 cable life expectanc ...

Cheap CAT5 cabling under a throw rug on a cement floor in a high traffic area will physically breakdown to the point that you get data errors in less than 4 years. Not really helpful, but something to keep in mind if you come across cabling that has been walked on.

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CAT5 Cable

by darwindmg In reply to CAT5 cable life expectanc ...

It would be better to break down and spend the money on certified wiring now than to break down.....then spend the money on installing certified wiring later plus the obligatory .....sorry everyone....I messed up and didn't do it when I could now we have to fix the wiring. I'l get back to you when it's back up.
No do it now if possible. With all the wear and tear the connections take over time It's better to redo it now. PLUS!!!!! you could just have them re-install using Cat 6 wiring! Get it while it's hot!

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Thanks. Cat 6 needed?

by gmallory In reply to CAT5 Cable

Thanks for the response. You confirmed my opinion. However, I have had mixed opinions regarding the CAT6 wiring needs. I have been told, and initially felt the same, that I should go ahead and do CAT6 now. But others, including installers and consultants have said it will be a long time before CAT6 has a practical application. We are not doing anything now or in the foreseeable future that would require gigabit delivery to the desktop. Our PCs must be powerful enough to run the applications, but the delivery of the data back to the server isn't required to be at blazing speeds any faster than our current CAT5 speeds. We download our drawing (AutoCAD) files from the server and work on the them on the PCs memory...not on the servers memory, so the speed back and forth is not noticable. Any thoughts as to the future abilities of PCs and servers need and ability to deliver at gigabit speeds? Also, wouldn't changing the wiring to gigabit abilities also require changing all the network cards on the PCs to gigabit as well?

Thanks again.

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NO Gigabit still uses a 4 Pair wire set.

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Thanks. Cat 6 needed?

I've seen Gigabit LAN's run on CAT 5E without a problem as the 100 T Base requires the 4 pair of wires to be used where as the 10 T Base only requires a 2 pair configuration.

The only difference between the 10/100 T Base and the Gigabit are the Hubs/Switches being used and the LAN Adaptors on the desktops. But quite often if there is a high network load placed on the file server it can have Gigabit LAN on it and feed a Gigabit switch into a slower 10/100 T Base LAN so that the basic ability of the File server is much faster than the remaining network so that when you get a few people logging onto the server you don't get any delays.

As most of the new M'Boards are now coming with Gigabit LAN connections it's not really much of a step up to moving to Gigabit LAN's as you already have most of the hardware available already and all you need do is change the hubs/switches in most cases.

As someone else has already said most of the problems in a proper setup occur in the actual connectors in the walls and the like as they do wear out with time. Provided that the actual cable isn't able to be touched it should last indifferently but there is also a problem of some phone installers using CAT 5 cable as it's cheaper than the Phone wire so you can see quite a lot of CAT 5 cable around the place and very little of it is involved with the LAN. When I see cases like this I use CAT 6 cable because of the different colour it's easy to pickup which is which.


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Pull out the old

by mjd420nova In reply to CAT5 cable life expectanc ...

In my experience, it is best to pull out the old stuff, just clip off the connectors(it'll come out easier that way) and save what you can for the new installation, using what you can, just crimp on new connectors. The cable itself usually will outlast most installations, it's the connectors that fail. In high traffic areas the cable can be inspected before pulling in for new.

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Just another thing

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to CAT5 cable life expectanc ...

If there has been any renovation or other building work done check to make sure that one or more cable runs haven't been trapped during the building.

While I haven't seen this often I did once see a CAT 5E Cable trapped between a tiger Bolt and some concrete which eventually destroyed the cable. Unfortunately it didn't happen immediately but several months after the room went up in the service department the Network failed and it was traced back to this cable. Because it was trapped it was a nasty job to pull some replacement wire as there naturally wasn't a straight drop.

But if at some time in the future you are looking at a higher speed network now would be the ideal time to replace the cable with CAT 6 so you are ready to run when you switch over to Gigabit LAN.


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